What is bullying and harassment?

Bullying is offensive, intimidating malicious or insulting behaviour; an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. There is no requirement to demonstrate the intention to bully only that the bullying occurred.

Bullying may include, by way of example:

  • shouting at, being sarcastic towards, ridiculing or demeaning others
  • physical or psychological threats
  • overbearing and intimidating levels of supervision
  • inappropriate and/or derogatory remarks about someone's performance
  • abuse of authority or power by those in positions of seniority
  • deliberately excluding someone from meetings or communications without good reason.

Harassment is defined as unwanted comments or conduct viewed as demeaning and unacceptable by the recipient or by any reasonable person. It applies to age, disability, gender assignment, race, religion or belief, sex (gender), sexual orientation, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, or any personal characteristic of the individual student. It may be intentional or otherwise; persistent or an isolated incident.

Harassment may include, for example:

  • unwanted physical conduct or ‘horseplay’, including touching, pinching, pushing, grabbing, brushing past someone, invading their personal space and more serious forms of physical or sexual assault
  • offensive or intimidating comments or gestures, or insensitive jokes or pranks
  • mocking, mimicking or belittling a person’s disability
  • racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist jokes, or derogatory or stereotypical remarks about a particular ethnic or religious group or gender
  • outing or threatening to out someone as gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans
  • ignoring or shunning someone, for example, by deliberately excluding them from a conversation or a social activity.

Some forms of harassment are considered a hate crime.  A hate incident or crime is any act of violence or hostility against a person or property that is motivated by hostility or prejudice towards a person due to a particular protected characteristic. Find out more on hate crime.

Other forms of harassment are described under the types of behaviour that are not acceptable found on the University’s website.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment refers to unwanted sexual comments, sexual invitations, innuendos and offensive gestures including wolf whistling, catcalling groping, pinching or smacking an individual’s body. It includes removing clothing without agreement or an individual(s) exposing without consent; inappropriate physical contact, displaying sexually explicit material (on paper or electronically), inappropriate jokes of a sexual nature, indecent requests or suggestions.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence refers to abuse within all kinds of intimate or family-type relationships. Such abuse can be physical, sexual, psychological or emotional and can be actual, attempted or threatened. The abuse can begin at any time, in new relationships or after many years together.

What is a hate crime?

Hate incident is defined as any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of (but not limited to) their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender. This can be an incident against a person or against property and includes materials posted online.

Hate incidents may include, for example:

  • verbal abuse like name-calling and offensive jokes
  • harassment
  • bullying or intimidation by children, adults, neighbours or strangers
  • physical attacks such as hitting, punching, pushing, spitting
  • threats of violence
  • hoax calls, abusive phone or text messages, hate mail
  • online abuse, for example on Facebook or Twitter
  • displaying or circulating discriminatory literature or posters
  • harm or damage to things such as your home, pet, or vehicle
  • graffiti
  • arson
  • throwing rubbish into a garden
  • malicious complaints, for example over parking, smells or noise

Hate crime is any incident which reaches the threshold of a criminal offence. A criminal offence is something that breaks the law.

Hate crimes may include, for example:

  • assaults
  • criminal damage
  • harassment
  • murder
  • sexual assault
  • theft
  • fraud
  • burglary
  • hate mail
  • harassment

Are there other unacceptable behaviours?

The University has a Student Code of Dignity and Respect which lists various types of unacceptable behaviours and covers students, staff and the wider community.

This list includes, but is not limited to behaviours including bullying, harassment and violence as detailed above.

A full list of unacceptable behaviours can be found on the University website.